Cria Cuervos (Raise Ravens) (12A)



Drama (1976)
109mins Sp

Starring: Josefina Diaz, Geraldine Chaplin, Ana Torrent, Hector Alterio, Monica Randall
Director: Carlos Saura
Writer(s): Carlos Saura
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Shortly after her domineering mother dies, eight-year-old Ana discovers her father Anselmo in bed with his lover. Ana and her sisters Irene and Maite are sent to live with their aunt Paulina, who shares her decaying house with the girls' mute and crippled grandmother and the maid Rosa. Fantasy and reality blur as Ana comes to terms with her loss and blossoms from an emotionally charged girl into a sexually desirable woman.

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LondonNet Film Review
Cría Cuervos (Raise Ravens)

Originally released in 1976, as General Francisco Franco lay on his deathbed, Cría Cuervos is Carlos Saura's controversial commentary on Spain's Francoist Regime. The allegorical melodrama won Saura the Special Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival the same year and has to this day been internationally revered as a Spanish classic.

The plot follows three orphaned girls growing up in Madrid, under the care of their aunt, in an eerily silent, stifling household. Captivating young Ana Torrent plays Saura's protagonist, Ana, whose fascination with death makes her an unsettling study of childhood. Blurring the boundaries between Ana's fantasies and realities, politically charged Cría Cuervos is comparable to recent Spanish films such as Pan's Labyrinth or The Orphanage.

Austere, provocative, and with a non-linear narrative, Cría Cuervos is not the easiest watch. Yet the film's beauty compensates for this, Saura also offering a few moments of comic relief from his moving narrative. Cría Cuervos remains a poignant insight into the nation's former dictatorship and a must-see for world-cinema aficionados.

- Amelia Abraham


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